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Essay on Physician-Assisted Suicide is Morally and Ethically Acceptable

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    The long time debate over medically assisted suicide, the presence of a doctor at a patient’s suicide, resurfaced again with the conviction of doctor Jack Kevorkian.  Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder when he euthanized, or administered the injection himself, Thomas Youk on September 17, 1998.  Dr. Kevorkian, an advocate and practitioner of medically assisted suicides, has many opponents on the issue. Opponents say that it is unethical and even with the consent of the patient that the procedure is still a homicide and not suicide.  I plan to show that physician-assisted suicide is morally and ethically acceptable, that court cases and laws have proven it to be acceptable, and that it is better than other alternatives.  It is only logical that through consent by the patient, that physician-assisted suicide is justified.

            In the last decade there have been numerous cases regarding physician-assisted suicide.  Many have been overturned due to technicalities.  For instance, in the trial People vs. Kevorkian, Dr. Kevorkian was acquitted for prescribing the medication not knowing it would lead to death.  The court ruled that if Kevorkian had knowingly prescribed the drugs in order for the patients to commit suicide, then he would have been found guilty.

            Since the start of the debate there has been some initiatives voted on in states in order to deal with the issue.  Currently, only one state, Oregon, has passed a law allowing physician-assisted suicides.  The law, titled The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, allows physician-assisted suicides and not euthanasia.  This law has sparked a huge debate on whether other states will follow Oregon’s lead and pass similar laws.  It is also importan...


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... Adam.  "Showdown for Doctor Death."  Time 152 (1998):  46-7.

"Deathnet."  Online. Internet. 27 April 1999.  Available   http://www.rights.org/deathnet/open.html.

Detroit Free Press.  "The Suicide Machine."  1997. Online. Internet. 27 April 1999. Available http://www.freep.com/suicide/index.html.

Fields-Meyer, Thomas.  "Exit Strategy."  People-Weekly 50 (1998):  58-60.

Foer, Franklin.  "Death in Prime Time."  U.S. News & World Report 125 (1998):  55-6.

Grace, Julie.  "Curtains for Dr. Death."  Time 153 (1999):  48.

Hunt, Roger.  "A Bedside Perspective of Euthanasia."  The Voluntary Euthanasia Society.  November 1996.  Online. Internet. 28 April 1999. 

Available http://www.ves.org.uk/

Morrow, Lance.  "Time for the Ice Floe, Pop."  Time 152 (1998):  48.

Weir, Robert.  Physician-Assisted Suicide.  Indiana University Press, 1997.

 


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